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Kathy Bohannon Columnist

Published Friday, January 18, 2013

Hurricanes and tropical storms

I kept the GrandLittles for a few hours last week while their Mommy Emily ran some errands. There are three stages to keeping GrandLittles. I had no idea until I had my own.

First is baby-proofing the house.

It is a huge deal to make our home safe for 19-month old Briella. First, I have to clear out the obvious things from surfaces in our house. A necklace I left on an end table, my car keys, my purse, pens, pencils, small tools that Ninja Man used and parked for a “moment” between his project and the garage.

A few visits ago, Briella dashed into the house and within seconds – honestly seconds – she located a few lost screws that had rolled under something on the coffee table. In one tour of the kitchen, she produced items we hadn’t seen in months. I am hoping she will retain these skills after she has grown out of putting-everything-in-the-mouth stage. It would be a useful talent indeed.

The night before Asher, who will be four in a few days, and Bri were to arrive, Ninja Man and I began thinking like toddlers. Once we’d both found a number of things she could ingest or destroy, we sat down and surveyed the living room. There’s the treadmill she once climbed on and within seconds, got both legs stuck under. Her mommy quickly grabbed her but I had to lift the contraption to get her out. Due to its size and necessity, the treadmill stays where it is and I’m pretty sure we have taught Bri she is not to climb on it.

There are bookshelves on either side of the TV. Ever since she has been able to walk, Bri has enjoyed pulling books and DVDs off the shelves. I imagined the middle shelf – her favorite – being emptied. A brief check proved no keepsake or fragile books there, so she could have at it.

Once we’ve baby-proofed, the next step is actually keeping the kids.

I realized early into this that I would do nothing except keep the kids. No knitting or sewing or reading, just watch the kids because it’s not an everyday thing and we don’t have a routine. They come to Momma and Poppa Bo’s house and it’s a novelty every time.

When Asher arrives, the first thing he wants to do is watch movies. Movies on DVD, TV, iPad, he doesn’t care, he just wants to watch movies. Mommy and Daddy limit his time watching movies, so we do things like go for a walk or color in a coloring book instead. When Bri comes in the door she grins and takes off. She is intent in exploring anything and everything that isn’t nailed down.

She has been dubbed “Hurricane Briella”, and rightly so. She’s hands on, put it in the mouth, busy.

She cannot resist the dog’s water bowl. It is a fountain that flows from a small container into a reservoir. Every single aspect of it is fascinating to Briella, and lifting the container high up in the air causes water to splash in every direction. This is most entertaining, until she gets caught. She takes off running while I’m trying to stop the flood in the hallway.

Things were easier this time, though. Our baby-proofing was successful and Bri couldn’t find anything to pop into her mouth that would take a surgeon to remove. She wasn’t even interested in pulling things off the shelf this time. She did play in her yogurt and I forgot to put a bib on her, so I had to do a little laundry.

Asher enjoyed the walk we took, and informed me that he was too big to be buckled in to the stroller but changed his mind after he saw little sister getting strapped in. He also “found” lost toys in the toy box, favorites he keeps here at our house. It always makes me smile when he does that.

Once they left, stage three kicked in: naptime. For me.

I stretched out on the sofa, reveled in the quiet, exhaled and began to relax. Just then my daughter called to tell me about something Phoebe Jo had done. “You know how we all call Bri “Hurricane Briella?” she asked. “Well, we’re going to have to downgrade her to a tropical storm. Phoebe Jo is crazy busy!”

I hung up the phone and sighed. I was going to need this nap.

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Kathy Bohannon is a weekly contributor to the Newnan Times-Herald, and can be reached at kathybohan@yahoo.com.

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